At first glance, it seemed like any other Monday evening in Görlitz, the most eastern town in Germany — where Poland sits just across the river. It was July 31, and a couple hundred people had gathered as part of the so-called Monday demonstrations to protest refugees, the COVID-19 vaccine and the government’s green energy politics. They carried banners that read “stop the flood of asylum seekers and the import of violence” and “we are the youth without a migration background.” Some clutched onto an inflatable balloon of German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach in convict clothes, insinuating he should be in prison over COVID-19 vaccine regulations and lockdowns. There were flags of the German empire and flags belonging to the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party, with the slogan “our country first.”
Earlier this year, news footage began making the rounds on social media of young activists from the German climate organization Letzte Generation (Last Generation) being assaulted by their fellow citizens as they obstructed streets in an effort to draw attention to the German government’s inaction on climate. A young woman, with her hand glued to a road was ripped off the road by her hair; a young man was run over by a truck driver; a passerby punched the protestors and was cheered on. A few months later, German police raided the homes of Last Generation activists and seized their bank accounts. It all seemed like a gross overreaction to a pretty tame form of protest.
The British playwright and Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter was an early critic of the Bush administration’s decision, endorsed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to declare a worldwide war on Islamist terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. In the fall of 2002, Pinter was invited to make his case against the war before the House of Commons. He began his talk with a bit of embellished British history about an earlier wave of terror in Ireland: “There’s an old story about Oliver Cromwell. After he had taken the town of Drogheda the citizens were brought to the main square. Cromwell announced to his Lieutenants: ‘Right! Kill all the women and rape all the men.’
Thousands gathered in the southwestern German town Ramstein to protest against US military hegemony and demanded the US military withdraw from Germany. About 1,500 people joined in the march holding banners that read "No weapon transportation to Ukraine" and "Americans go home." Many participants delivered speeches denouncing US military hegemony in front of the US air force base in the town. "You know we have 22 wars in the world and about 200 military or armed conflicts. In the main majority of these conflicts, the United States of America is a part of it. So, the US is a key player when we are discussing a world to war or a world to peace.
Berlin, Germany — Germany’s push to achieve climate neutrality by 2045 could, by some projections, soon turn the vast network of natural gas pipelines powering the country’s homes and industry into one of Europe’s biggest stranded assets. But gas grid executives gathered in Berlin this week to lay out a survival strategy: Retool their infrastructure to turn clean-burning hydrogen into the engine of Germany’s energy transition. Echoing a trend seen among fossil fuel incumbents the world over, Germany’s pipeline operators are casting themselves as gatekeepers to climate solutions.
The political class in Germany is stunned by the findings of a YouGov poll published on Friday that 20% of voters would give their vote to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), making it the second-strongest party behind the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) (28%) and ahead of center-left Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) (19%). There is no mistaking that it is a political earthquake. Given Germany’s proportional representative system — which is unlike the US or the UK where, too, politics is fractious but is protected by the first-past-the-pole voting system — it is reasonable to estimate that the current “traffic-light” coalition between the SPD, the Greens (who polled 15%) and the neo-liberal Free Democrats or FDP (7%) no longer has a mandate to rule, after only one and a half years in office.
On June 10, hundreds of activists from various anti-imperialist and anti-war groups as well as the Communist Party of Germany (DKP) marched to the Wunstorf Air Base in Hannover to protest the NATO’s Air Defender 2023 exercise scheduled from June 12-June 23. A vigil was also held at the Spangdahlem Air Base near Trier, which will also serve as a base for the exercise. Die Linke organized protests against the NATO exercise on June 11. The protestors denounced war-mongering and projection of military might by NATO amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and demanded a ceasefire and peace negotiations in Ukraine, as well as removal of US nuclear weapons from Germany.
More than ever, in times of growing geopolitical tensions and confrontational policy approaches, with intolerance and “friend-or- foe” thinking threatening to erode the primacy of diplomacy, international exchange, mutual understanding, and peaceful cooperation are of outstanding global importance. Through your academic innovation and your university’s global outlook – as reflected for example in numerous educational cooperation programmes and extensive academic exchange – you are making an important contribution, which cannot be overstated. In talking about Sino-German relations in 2023 against the background of the new era of emancipation of the Global South, we should begin by discussing a book which is important to understand the present-day situation.
During the May 2023 Group of Seven (G7) summit, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, near where the meeting was held. Not doing so would have been an act of immense discourtesy. Despite many calls for an apology from the US for dropping an atomic bomb on a civilian population in 1945, US President Joe Biden has demurred. Instead, he wrote in the Peace Memorial guest book: ‘May the stories of this museum remind us all of our obligations to build a future of peace’. Apologies, amplified by the tensions of our time, take on interesting sociological and political roles.
Deutsche Bank and other German lenders have poured finance into gas export terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast since Russia invaded Ukraine, a report has found, sparking anger among residents who say the megaprojects are devastating their communities. German banks lent 2.17 billion euros to U.S. gas export projects since the beginning of 2022, a sharp increase on the 1.86 billion euros in loans made during the 10 preceding years combined, according to underlying data used to produce the report by environmental groups Urgewald, Environmental Action Germany (DUH) and Andy Gheorghiu Consulting. The banks also underwrote 610 million euros of bonds for the projects from 2012-2021, the data showed.
On the occasion of the global climate strike on March 3, a special political alliance took to the streets in Germany: side-by-side, climate activists and public transport workers went on strike. In at least 30 cities, climate activists visited workers' pickets and brought them along for joint demonstrations. According to Fridays for Future (FFF), a total of 200,000 people participated in the nation-wide protests. The way employers reacted showed that this alliance of workers and climate activists is a potential threat to the ruling class. Steffen Kampeter, CEO of the Confederation of German Employers (BDA), publicly denounced them on the morning of the joint strike day as “a dangerous crossing of the line”.
Roger Waters is facing pushback from Germany. City authorities have canceled his upcoming concert over claims the Pink Floyd frontman is anti-Semitic. Yet activists say his experience is not an isolated incident when it comes to support for Palestine. In February, Frankfurt’s City Council canceled Waters’s concert scheduled for May 28, stating in a press release that the musician “is considered one of the most widely spread anti-Semites in the world.” City officials cited Waters’ advocacy for a cultural boycott of Israel as one of the reasons for his alleged anti-Semitism. When reached for comment, Frankfurt City Council referred MintPress News to its aforementioned press release.
France is currently in flames. Millions have been taking to the streets to protest against the government’s anti-democratic measure to raise the retirement age. Across the Rhine, Germany — where there tend to be far fewer strikes — is also set to experience a historic strike. Starting on Monday at midnight and lasting for 24 hours, hundreds of thousands of workers will be on strike. This is set to be the biggest strike in Germany in more than 30 years. It represents a convergence of different struggles in progress. On the one hand, the railway workers’ union EVG (not the same as the train drivers’ union GDL) is demanding a 12 percent raise for their members.
History has dealt a tough hand to the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, who openly confessed his intent to “bring an end” to the Nord Stream pipeline system which delivered Russian natural gas to Europe through four pipelines (Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2, consisting of two pipelines each). Since then, the Biden White House was compelled to deny the president’s stated intent after an explosive report by Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh detailed damning information which, if true (and there is no reason to suspect it’s not) casts the responsibility for a series of underwater explosions that took place on Sept. 26, 2022, on Biden himself.